After the fourth straight game the Yankees did not win with Jameson Taillon on the mound last Friday, the right-hander was hopeful he had at least found something to build off of.
Taillon had made a point to pitch more aggressively and also began throwing out of the windup for the first time since undergoing a second Tommy John surgery.
Thursday he turned the adjustments into results, and most importantly, a win.
Taillon pitched into the seventh inning for only the second time this season, giving up just one run over 6 ¹/₃ innings as the Yankees beat the Royals 8-1 to win the series in The Bronx.
“It’s nice to have it all come together a little bit for an outing,” said Taillon, who struck out six, walked two and gave up five hits. “Especially coming into today, having the series split, this being the deciding game, I really wanted to go out there and give us a good shot to win. Definitely feels good leaving here with a win. The pitch mix was definitely a lot better. I didn’t feel like I backed myself into a corner and had to rely on just one thing. I felt like I had everything going.”
That was especially the case for his curveball, a pitch that Taillon has leaned on during his career until losing his feel for it this season. But manager Aaron Boone called Thursday’s edition “as good as I’ve seen it.”
“After that Philly debacle, I was curious where my curveball went,” Taillon said, referring to his June 12 start when he gave up four runs in one-third of an inning. “My whole life, that’s been my best pitch. … So in between starts, I messed with my grip a little bit, I was messing with my mentality on it a little bit, my sights a little bit. Against the A’s [Friday] it was better. Today was another step forward with it.”
Taillon gave up his only run of the day in the fifth inning, which began with a single and RBI double. But after he walked Whit Merrifield, Taillon locked in and threw two pitches to get out of the inning on a fly ball and a double-play liner.
In two starts using the windup, Taillon has now given up three runs over 11 innings while lowering his season ERA to 5.18.
“It allows me to have a little more rhythm and feel on the mound,” Taillon said. “Something that’s big mentality-wise is out of the windup, you know you’re not working with traffic on the bases. That right there relieves some pressure. … Out of the windup, I just feel a little more free.”